cover image Pirandello's Love Letters to Marta ABBA

Pirandello's Love Letters to Marta ABBA

Luigi Pirandello, Luigi Priandello. Princeton University Press, $55 (440pp) ISBN 978-0-691-03499-7

The 164 letters written by leading Italian dramatist Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) collected here date from 1926 until the playwright's death. Selected with explanatory chapter notes by Brooklyn College theater professor Ortolani, the emotional and frequently self-pitying correspondence documents the aging playwright's unrequited love for Marta Abba, a young, talented and beautiful stage actress. Pirandello hoped to establish a national theater with her; the couple met frequently and toured together. Abba, however, did not respond to Pirandello's passion and his obsessional love and emotional demands frequently drove her away. The letters also deal with Pirandello's artistic successes (he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1931) and with his trying association with dictator Mussolini, whose assistance he required for his proposed state theater. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)